Someone remarked recently that great photographs cannot be found by searching or hunting for them. When I thought about this comment, I’m not sure I always agree. There are many times when planning a photography adventure for the sole purpose of photographing particular settings turns out extremely well.
Planning a trip doesn’t necessarily mean that the resulting photographs will be mundane; on the contrary, time and money can be saved with planning by ensuring that aspects such as weather and lighting will be advantageous for the photography. In addition, routes can be mapped to save time and gas that might otherwise be wasted looking for specific or intriguing locations. That having been said, there is another side to that argument alluding to the possible intended spirit of the remark.
The reverse argument favors the idea of serendipity—finding that amazing photograph when you least expect it, unplanned, uncharted, and completely spontaneous. I’ve taken many surprising photographs resulting from chance encounters. More often than not, however, I find the unexpected during a planned trip. One such photograph titled, “Stained Glass Tree“, was taken on a visit to a popular waterfall. Although the waterfall was stunning, the real beauty that day was a scrubby looking maple glistening at the edge of a cliff overlooking the waterfall, sunlight illuminating its multicolored leaves while patches of blue sky peaked between every crevasse.
The photograph featured in this post, “Lil’ Blue Heron Fishin’“, is an unplanned siting of a little blue heron catching a fish with bright green duckweed as his backdrop. Its difficult to plan shots of wildlife and birds because they’re unpredictable, so you have to be ready at a moment’s notice.
I’m not sure there is one right approach since there are many different factors. However, whether you plan your photography adventure or not, remain open to all of your surroundings, not just your intended destination. You’ll end up being surprised at the hidden gems you discover along the way.